Seaweed: the Ocean-Based Superfood Your Diet Is Missing

Illuminated Nori Seaweed Sheets Place Neatly on White Background Directly Above View.
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Seaweed is like the kale of the ocean. Except you’re not tired of it yet. Below, everything you need to know about your new favorite green.

The Nutritional Goods

The term powerhouse is overused, but that’s what seaweed is. It contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as compounds called phytonutrients, says Andres Valenzuela, R.D., of Canyon Ranch resort in Tucson, AZ. “These nutrients are potent antioxidants that can protect the body from stress at the cellular level and promote recovery from tough workouts.” It’s a vegetarian form of omega-3 that helps with brain health, and it contains the trace minerals iodine, calcium, and potassium to support electrolyte balance.

Where to Get It

Add seaweed in one of its many forms to your leafy-green rotation once or twice a week. Sushi rolls wrapped in nori are a natural conduit and add a salad of bright wakame or inky hijiki to your order. Health food stores will carry spirulina, a microalgae. It’s sold as a dried powder and contains as much protein as peanut butter, so mix it into savory smoothies. The market may carry brown arame, which has chemicals called polyphenols that reduce inflammation. These tendrils lend a mild earthy flavor to broths.

How to Cook It

Dried seaweed, available in many grocery stores, is great for adding umami to dishes. Try it in a simple soup from L.A. chef Roy Choi: Reconstitute about 2 oz dried seaweed, such as wakame, in cold water and drain. In a medium pot over medium heat, whisk together 2 cups chicken stock, cup plus 2 tbsp miso, and 5 tbsp soy sauce. Add seaweed and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 4 oz cubed firm tofu and continue simmering 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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